Marilyn Mural Sparks ‘Abstract Dissent’ in China Grove

A new Marilyn mural in China Grove near Salisbury, North Carolina – inspired by Gene Kornman’s iconic photo of Marilyn in her gold lamé dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes –  has sparked a row between a brewery owner and the town council, the Salisbury Post reports. (Incidentally, Marilyn’s masseur Ralph Roberts was from Salisbury …)

“The owner of the Grove Cartel Brewing Company made an impassioned plea to the China Grove Town Council to allow him to move forward with a mural on the side of his downtown business. The mural features the face of Marilyn Monroe and, as of this past week, a 1950s-era car and the words ‘Pizza Beer Music’ over the word ‘Meadows.’ Meadows at Grove Cartel is a restaurant on the second floor of the building.

It’s not the first time that Grove Cartel Brewing Company owner Jason Overcash has run into resistance from China Grove town officials over a mural on his building. However, after his last run-in with China Grove, he felt the situation was settled.

‘Last June, I was met with this same resistance,’ Overcash said. ‘After previously submitting plans and drawings during the construction phase in September 2021, I was told that changes were currently being made to adapt to the current times and would be handled in October, which would allow the proposed drawing.’

The issue was never with the mural on either side of the building but rather with the wording and lettering featured in each case. Still, after the first mural caused issues, the town council ultimately decided to alter the ordinance to allow lettering on murals as long as it’s the business’s name.

Having been told that the issue was resolved, Overcash was surprised when he recently went to obtain a sign or mural permit and was told it was not allowed.

The artist responsible for the latest mural was also behind the Grove Cartel’s original work. His name is Shane Pierce, also known as Abstract Dissent, and he is a Salisbury-based artist with numerous canvases around Rowan County and other areas.”